Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/488

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

primitive structures as is to be found among the modern mission Indians, and is quite primitive. The roof is composed of thick branches of a kind of sage-brush, and the pole wattles constituting its sides are chinked with mud.

Late in mission history the houses were built of sun-dried bricks, and were reasonably comfortable habitations, but in the early period they were most miserable affairs. Vancouver describes them in 1792, and they were evidently nothing but the native huts, made of willow saplings planted in the earth and brought together at the top, with twigs interwoven and with a thatching of grass and rushes. Vancouver says of them: "These

PSM V37 D488 Adobe house of mission indians coahuila valley.jpg
Fig. 4.—Adobe House of Mission Indians, Coahuila Valley, San Diego County.

miserable habitations, each of which was allotted for the residence of a whole family, were erected with some degree of uniformity, about three or four feet asunder, in straight rows, leaving lanes or passages at right angles between them; but these were so abominably infested with every kind of filth and nastiness as to be rendered not less offensive than degrading to the human species."

Fig. 4 shows the modern adobe house, the use of adobe being introduced into California by the Spaniards.

The fact is, that in the aboriginal state the sanitary condition of the Indians was preserved by seasonal changes of residence, or by burning the houses, for one reason or another, chiefly superstitious. They probably never burned them of their own accord